On Bill Barr and Sex Workers: Whistleblower X Raised Hunter Biden’s Baby Momma in Response to a Prostitute Question

As a number of people have noted, the second so-called IRS whistleblower on the Hunter Biden case pointed to the official release of the documents Trump stole as an example of another high profile case where (he claimed, incorrectly), like the Hunter Biden one, there were leaks.

Q What’s an example of another high-profile case that we’re comparing that to?

A So some of the information that was released — or some of the information that was leaked related to the Trump classified documents. So that case. So there were actual pictures that were leaked from inside the search warrant. And this is what my memory of seeing things in the media. So that’s something that I remember. But, I mean — yeah.

It’s a testament to the way he has internalized Trump propaganda. It is one indicator of his unreliability.

There are more.

Far more.

The man should not be treated as credible.

All Whistleblower X’s International Tax Experience Has Been Milking Hunter Biden

Start with his own description of his work experience.

While he has been with the IRS for 13 years, it’s actually not clear how experienced he is in this kind of investigation. As he described, until just before he personally predicated the Hunter Biden investigation in 2018, he was a Public Information Officer, seemingly in both a public-facing role and working investigations.

Literally his first investigation on IRS’ International Tax and Financial Crimes group was into Hunter Biden.

And that’s important because he seems to struggle with due process. Throughout his presentation, for example, he seems to have little understanding of FBI guidelines, including least intrusive means and required approvals for Sensitive Investigative Matters. Many of his complaints amount to a complaint that he wasn’t permitted to violate rules that FBI has re-emphasized in the wake of the Carter Page IG Report.

So in a sense, Republicans are wailing because FBI wouldn’t violate rules the FBI didn’t even violate with Carter Page, such as doing physical surveillance of a candidate’s son 14 days before the election.

Q Why did you have to get approval for that?

A Because we were in a posture at that point that we couldn’t do anything that appeared — any investigative activities pretty much whatsoever.

Q But you weren’t wearing an IRS windbreaker, and you weren’t driving a car marked with IRS letters on it. So how would anyone possibly know? It’s a free country. You’re allowed to drive by any house you want.

A Yeah, I didn’t want it — because I think at that time we were trying to do surveillance of pretty much everyone we were going to potentially interview. So he was just another one of the people that we wanted to do that for. I guess I don’t know —


Q What is that email in reference to?

A This is in reference — this is October 20th, 2020, walk-by of possible residence. And Mark Daly says: Tax does not approve. This will be on hold until further notice.

He also seems to have assumed that decisions were made to protect Hunter when many of his complaints seem to pertain to efforts to protect the investigation (for example, in addition to the above complaint that he wasn’t able to physically surveil Hunter Biden solely to make sure he was living where they believed him to live; another objected to making a data request without using his name, something that would prevent leaks).

But particularly given his own description of his career track, it’s not clear how many successful investigations he has had.

Over the course of his testimony, he described two other cases he worked about which there were substantive disagreements. The first was one he apparently worked while also an Public Information Officer. There, after the AUSA cycled off of the case, a new one declined to prosecute.

Prior to joining the case, DOJ Tax had approved tax charges for the case and the case was in the process of progressing towards indictment. Our assigned Assistant United States Attorney was promoted to judge, and DOJ Tax had made the decision to reinvestigate the case.

After working thousands of hours on that captive case, poring over evidence, interviewing witnesses all over the U.S., the decision was made by DOJ Tax to change the approval to a declination and not charge the case.

I was devastated when I found that out, but at the end of the day I understood.

We did everything we could to try to work through the issues and get the captive case ready for indictment. I fought hard, having meetings with the leaders of my agency and DOJ Tax to try and get it charged. But at the end of the day it was a difference in opinion, and DOJ Tax didn’t want to set precedence.

I’m bringing this up to show you an example of difference in opinion between the investigators and prosecutors when it came to charging. The captive case and the steps taken were significantly different than what happened with the Hunter Biden investigation, and hopefully I can show you that with my testimony here today.

Without distinguishing the difference, Whistleblower X claimed he wasn’t much bothered by the declination in that case.

Much later in his interview, he was asked why he didn’t approach IRS Director of Field Operations Michael Batdorf after he was removed from the Hunter Biden case, when in 2021 Batdorf had invited him to do.

Whistleblower X described that in mid-October 2022, shortly after the big pre-election leak about the case to Devlin Barrett, Batdorf put a hold on another of his cases.

Q So you mentioned Michael Batdorf and that he had told you previously that you could go directly to him. Is that right?

A Yes.

Q Did you do that at the stage where you learned that you were removed?

A I did not.

Q Okay. Did you feel like you could talk to him about this issue?

A No, because I’ve been having other issues with him on another case I’m working that is — I felt like that chain of — that that relationship was broken.

Q When did that relationship start to break down?

A Probably since mid-October, maybe, would be my guess. I mean, it’s — yeah. It’s definitely —

Q Mid-October 2022?

A Yes.

Q And you mentioned issues you were having with him on another case. It’s totally fine if you don’t want to get into the specifics of that particular case, but can you generally describe the issues that you’re referring to?

A Yeah. I need to stay very, very high level on this. I had received approval with a strategy related to this case. And they backtracked that approval a couple weeks later and said to me that we need to put this on pause and that we’ll get back to you on what strategy we’re going to do moving forward. And we’re still on a pause right now.


Q We were talking about the approval on the strategy for this other case. And just to clarify, this is a totally unrelated matter?

A Unrelated matter, yes.

Q Okay. And can you describe more about what happened to that strategy?

A It felt like it was — all along, we had been — for the past probably year, we had been communicating a strategy on this case that is tackling a big problem and trying to tackle it efficiently, okay? And it’s a compliance issue in this area. So we were briefing our [IRS] leaders and constantly having meetings about what we’re planning on doing, and they were on all [of] these phone calls, and we were sending emails of our strategy. And very recently, one of those strategies was moving forward on this compliance issue, and we were a go on it. And a few weeks later, I receive[d] a phone call that basically says, you’re being paused, and we’re having to relook at what you were doing, and we will make a determination moving forward.

So now, to all my peers and the different people, I was the one pushing the strategy, and it got halted in place, and now I have to go back to [these] people and explain to them why — it was just a mess. It was an absolute mess.

Q When did you get that phone call saying that you were being paused?

A It was in February of 2023. It was either a phone call or an email. [Inline brackets original]

Perhaps this was a response to the investigation into the leak, but Whistleblower X suggested that on a second case, he had had serious disagreements with management.

And yet, per a later answer, Hunter Biden and its offshoots were his only case.

Q Okay. I want to get some sense generally of your caseload and what you work. How many cases do you currently have? How many cases did you have back in 2018 when this case was assigned to you?

A I was new to the group. So this was one of two cases that I was working at the time. And then moving forward to right now, I have one large case. But it includes probably 80 tangential cases — or 80 sort of spinoff cases that I’m trying to manage and work, as well.

That’s abnormal. Normally for an IRS special agent, normally it’s one or two cases that they’re working a year because of how much work goes into them.

Q You mentioned that one of your other cases is paused. How many cases do you have that are paused? I don’t know how you count the one large one with the 80 tangentials. But how many of those are paused?

A Probably 20-ish. Let me rephrase that. I would say 10 to 15.

Mr. Zerbe. Why are they paused? You might expand on that.

BY MINORITY COUNSEL 1: Q I was going ask that question. So, yeah, go ahead.

A They are second-guessing the strategy that we’re putting forward on those.


Q In your cases that you’ve had, first starting back since November of 2018, coming forward, have you had disagreements in other cases that you’ve been working?

A Yeah, yes.

Q How did that play out? How do your disagreements play out generally?

A I can give you an example of in another situation I was working, we also had a person who had failed to file returns and they earned a significant amount of money and they went out into — I need to be — so they had that situation at hand. I went to the prosecutors on the case. And I said, hey, this person has these unfiled returns. I’m thinking that specifically with what has happened — and specifically with what has happened in news reporting related to them, I think we need to go talk to them

Not only don’t these answers make sense, but even if they’re true, Whistleblower X has had problems with every major case he has worked for the last five years.

That wasn’t the only way Whistleblower X damaged his credibility.

On the Third Try He Admits He Listened into a Meeting Uninvited

Take his belated admission to listening in on a phone conversation involving his chain of command covertly.

Whistleblower X provided three different accounts of how he learned he had been removed from the Hunter Biden investigation.

His first description of how he learned he had been removed came as he was reading from an email he sent to much of the IRS chain of command. Either in that email or an aside he made as he read (note the quotation marks; this transcript was reviewed and revised by Whistleblower X and his attorney, who has very close ties to Chuck Grassley), he claimed he never got a phone call informing he had been removed.

It says, “My respective IRS leadership, first off, I apologize for breaking the managerial chain of command, but the reason I am doing this is because I don’t think my concerns and/or words are being relayed to your respective offices. I am requesting that you consider some of the issues at hand. I’m sure you are aware I was removed this week from a highly sensitive case out of the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office after nearly 5 years of work. I was not afforded the opportunity of a phone call directly from my special agent in charge or assistant special agent in charge, even though this had been my investigation since the start.”

And outside, I still have not received a phone call from my assistant special agent in charge or anyone in my IRS CI leadership other than my supervisor.

Later Chairman Jason Smith asked him how he found out. Whistleblower X implied that Gary Shapley told him.

Chairman Smith. Who informed you that you were being removed from the investigation?

Mr. X. I learned through my supervisor, Gary Shapley.

Chairman Smith. How were you informed that you were being removed from this investigation?

Mr. X. He told me — Gary Shapley told me that he was removed and I was removed.

Chairman Smith. So it was by phone call?

Mr. X. Yes.

The implication from this exchange was that after he learned of it, Gary Shapley picked up the phone and called Whistleblower X to tell them the entire team had been removed from the case.

Shortly after that exchange, Whistleblower X and his attorney went off the record, after which he offered a third version: He sat in, uninvited, on a call that Shapley was asked to attend.

Mr. X. So I want to be clear with this. Can I explain what happened?

The assistant special agent in charge, Lola Watson, sent Gary an email — not me, Gary Shapley — my supervisor an email saying that they want to have a call regarding Sportsman. So a Sportsman update call. Gary, not feeling comfortable with our leadership, asked me to be on that call as a witness. I was not invited on that call, but I participated via phone on that phone call.

And it was during that call that — I overheard it, and they said that essentially the ITFC — so our group was removed from the investigation, and they were going to replace us with some other agents within the D.C. Field Office that they didn’t know the names of yet. There was no mention of, we need you to tell X. No mention of me whatsoever. It was just that we were removed from the case.

So, after telling two entirely different stories, Whistleblower X admitted he had basically listened in, uninvited, to an official government call.

And Republicans on the committee were not much bothered by that.

When Prostitutes Turn Girlfriends Turn Baby Mommas

Whistleblower X described starting the investigation into Hunter Biden off a sex worker site.

I started this investigation in November of 2018 after reviewing bank reports related to another case I was working on a social media company. Those bank reports identified Hunter Biden as paying prostitutes related to a potential prostitution ring.

I genuinely wonder whether this entire investigation is Elliott Spitzer 2.0, a highly politicized case out of someone arranging for sex work, especially given later references to the Mann Act.

And then there were — and I know that my counsel brought this up earlier. There were some flying people across State lines, paying for their travel, paying for their hotels. They were what we call Mann Act violations.

Even by Whistleblower X’s description, this investigation started off almost nothing.

Mr. X. My initiation packet, so sending the case forward to get — we call it subject case. It’s an SCI. It’s elevating the case to actually working the investigation. My first one showed the unfiled returns and the taxes owed for 2015 and that was it on my first package. So that was the wrongdoing that we were alleging.

And my supervisor goes: You don’t have enough. You need to find more.

All the more so given Whistleblower X’s problems with sex workers.

He talked about women he claimed to be prostitutes a lot.

At one point he bragged about how, in spite colleagues’ dismissals of the import of sex workers, he hunted down every sex worker with a tie to Hunter Biden and wowed his colleagues about them.

There was a lot of different investigative steps that we took, that even going and talking to the prostitutes, we found multiple people that he called his employees that were also prostitutes, and that he would have them clean his hotel room or — there were a lot of these interviews that we ended up going and doing and talking to people that were so worth it, even though someone might — we were always being told by the prosecutors, you guys are wasting your time going and doing that. It’s not worth it. And literally, I would surprise them every time and find everyone.

Later, Whistleblower X turned to the woman whose child support payments Hunter Biden just settled, Lunden Roberts, and claimed she didn’t work for Hunter Biden (Abbe Lowell complained when Shapley made this same claim).

So in addition to some of this stuff that we’ve been talking about, he also had members of his family, including Lunden Roberts, on his payroll. We know that during the time period she was paid, she did not work for him. So he was deducting things for salary for employees that were his family members. A lot of those witnesses are people we would go and talk to.

Still later, one of the majority counsels tried to get Whistleblower X to confirm he caught Hunter Biden paying health insurance for his sex workers, only to have him raise Roberts, the mother of the child he fathered.

Q During our discussion of the 2018 tax year, you mentioned that Hunter Biden was making business expenses for prostitutes?

A Yes, in some circumstances.

Q Could you give us a little bit more information on that? What was the nature of the — was he paying for — were they on the payroll? Was he paying for travel?

A In some situations, they were on payroll, and that was to get them health insurance in certain situations. There was —

Q So he’s paying for health insurance for his prostitutes?

A Not necessarily for — so let me go back and — so one of his girlfriends was on the payroll and — Mr. . Off the record, please, for a second. [Discussion off the record.]

MAJORITY COUNSEL 2. Back on the record.

Mr. X. So Lunden Roberts, she was on his payroll. She was not working. She was actually living in Arkansas pregnant with his child, and she was on his payroll.

There were expenditures for one of — he called it his West Coast assistant, but we knew her to also be in the prostitution world or believed to be in the prostitution world. And he deducted expenses related to her. She relates to the sex club issue.

Particularly given how much of this case relied on leads obtained from and tax returns updated in response to the paternity suit here, it is fairly remarkable that Whistleblower X raises Roberts in response to a question about prostitutes (though he quickly promoted her to being a girlfriend), particularly given corroboration for the claim that she was a personal assistant.

To be clear: I’m not saying she was anything but a personal assistant. Whistleblower X, however, raised her as an example in response to a question about prostitutes, and only later called her a girlfriend.

According to the NYT, Roberts’ father hunts with Don Jr, and Whistleblower X raised her in response to a question about sex workers.

But maybe Whistleblower X’s treatment of all these women as sex workers is not an accident.

Steve Bannon has been involved in this operation for years. I’ve heard a propagandist close to Bannon has been a source of leads for the investigation.

What if any ties to sex work among his personal assistants was not Hunter’s doing?

Whistleblower X Retreats from Hearsay … But Only His Bill Barr Hearsay

Whistleblower X’s presentation was riddled with hearsay (so much so, it raises real questions about his integrity as an investigator — in congressional testimony he proved unable to distinguish between rumor and fact). He repeatedly made claims about things that transpired with the investigation about which he has no firsthand knowledge.

That includes a claim he made about Bill Barr: Throughout Whistleblower X’s presentation, he claimed Bill Barr made the decision to send this tax investigation to Delaware.

So in [or] around March or April of 2019, the case went up to DOJ Tax. And at that time we were told that William Barr made the decision to join two investigations together. So at that point in time I had found out that Delaware had opened up an investigation related to the bank reports and that that occurred in January of 2019, so 2 months after I started mine.

He didn’t change his story on follow-up from Minority Counsel.

Q Shortly after that, you talked about in March and April of 2018 that Attorney General Barr had made a decision to join the cases. And then you said that Delaware had opened the case. You said January of — is that 2019 or 2018 or 2020? I didn’t get the year.

A It was January of 2019 —

Q Okay.

A — that Delaware, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and FBI had opened up the investigation. They wouldn’t have been able to see in our IRS system that we had a case open.

Or another follow-up from Minority Counsel.

Q Okay. I wanted to go back to something that you mentioned earlier. You said that in March/April — and I think you meant 2018, but I’m not sure — that Bill Barr made the decision to join these cases together.

A So that would have been 2019.

Q 2019. And then you said that the case in Delaware was opened January of 2019? Is that correct?

A Yep.

Q Okay. And then this case was opened May of 2019?

A So the cases were joined May of 2019.

Q How was it communicated to you that Bill Barr joined these cases together?

A I believe it was my manager that told me. My manager would have been Matt Kutz.

Q How would he have known? Would that have come from Justice somewhere or where does that come from —

A From his leadership, most likely, when we were told — we were essentially told that we had go up to Delaware to meet them. And the decision was made at his direction, from what I recall.

Q “His” being Bill Barr?

A Yes.

Q Okay. Was there any other discussion of Bill Barr taking interest in this case that you heard of beyond it being joined?

A Not at all.

Q Was there any reporting up the chain that you know of to Bill Barr?

A No, not that I know of.

As noted, Whistleblower X attributed this claim to his then-supervisor Matt Kutz.

Curiously, Republican Chairs chose not to demand testimony from Kutz — who might explain why he understood the decision to consolidate the cases in Delaware came from the Attorney General — among the 12 from whom they’re demanding impossible testimony.

  • Lesley Wolf, DOJ
  • Jack Morgan, DOJ
  • Mark Daly, DOJ
  • Matthew Graves, DOJ
  • Martin Estrada, DOJ
  • David Weiss, DOJ
  • Stuart Goldberg, DOJ
  • Shawn Weede, DOJ
  • Shannon Hudson, DOJ
  • Tom Sobocinski, FBI
  • Ryeshia Holley, FBI
  • Michael T. Batdorf, IRS
  • Darrell J. Waldon, IRS
  • Secret Service employees who received the December 7, 2020, tip-off from FBI and all Secret Service employees who may have passed this information along to the Biden family or presidential transition team.

Anyway, Whistleblower X’s attorney, Dean Zerbe, began to cop on to how problematic it was that Barr had intervened the third time the Minority Counsel followed up about this.

MINORITY COUNSEL 2. How unusual, or in your experience, how frequently have you seen cases merged from the DOJ and IRS?

Mr. Zerbe. Let’s go off the record.

MAJORITY COUNSEL 3. Off the record. [Discussion off the record.]

BY MINORITY COUNSEL 2: Q That’s what I’m asking. How common is that circumstance? Sorry. Back on the record.

A I have never had that happen in my career.

Q Would you say it was something of an unusual occurrence for the Attorney General himself to order that?

A Looking back at it, I think he was trying to utilize the resources that he had. And I recall doing venue analyses for them to determine where proper venue was, to see if — but everything that I did said that we were — there’s no residence of Hunter other than his dad’s residence, his dad, President Biden, in Delaware. So his return preparers are in, I think it’s Maryland, his — at the time were in Maryland. So everything was pointing to outside of Delaware.

Q Well, when you say utilize his resources, is it usual for the Attorney General to take a specific interest in a case that maybe conservatively would be of, you know, $1 million in value to the U.S. Government, which, although obviously is a lot of money to the folks sitting here, is pretty small, small dollars relative to the entirety of the fiscal —

A Can ask you your question again? I apologize.

Q Does the Attorney General usually weigh in on cases where you’re talking about $1 million?

A I’ve never had that happen before.

Q To your knowledge, did Attorney General Barr weigh in, or seek updates on the investigation after those cases were joined?

A Not to my knowledge.

By this point, the Majority Counsel seems to have sussed out the problem with Billy Barr’s personal involvement in this. Because then that lawyer weighed in to cue up a response that maybe Barr was just approving high level prosecutions.

Q Okay. The discussion last round about the Attorney General Barr’s involvement, are you aware of the Justice Department policies and procedures that relate to sensitive investigative matters and political matters?

A I am not.

Q And do you know if the Attorney General, under the DOJ rules and procedures, has to make some of these decisions?

A I did not.

Q Would it surprise you if, in fact, the Attorney General does have to sign off on certain things when it relates to the son of a Presidential candidate or an incoming President-elect?

A It wouldn’t surprise me at all.

Now, it is totally plausible that Bill Barr was personally involved in sending a tax investigation to Delaware on which to hang foreign influence allegations that — thus far at least — have amounted to nothing. After all, Barr’s DOJ ordered up an investigation into John Kerry in SDNY. He ordered DC USAO to take a second stab at the Greg Craig prosecution, which flopped. He made John Durham Special Counsel so he could take two flimsy conspiracy theories to trial.

And he personally set up a parallel channel via which information channeled through Rudy Giuliani from known Russian spies could be ingested through the Pittsburgh US Attorney Office and sent on to the Delaware office.

That’s why Whistleblower X’s “supplement” is so interesting.

Both Shapley and Whistleblower X sent supplements complaining that they didn’t get to see the FD-1023 that Barr weighed in publicly to claim was totally reliable even though it came via Russian spy channels. That is, both used Barr’s public comments to intervene in the investigation from which they’ve already been removed.

In addition to doing that, though, Whistleblower X admitted — alone among all the unsubstantiated rumors he shared in his testimony — that after standing by his claim that it was Bill Barr who consolidated the cases in Delaware in four different exchanges, he was no longer sure that was the case.

After having been given an opportunity to review the transcript of his interview, Mr. X thought it would be helpful for the work of the Committee to clarify and update the transcript through this letter.

The clarification: Mr. X recalls in his testimony that he was told (roughly five years ago) by a supervisor that it was then-Attorney General William Barr who directed that the proposed case be merged with an ongoing case in Delaware. Mr. X is confident he was told by his supervisor that the merging of the cases was at the direction of an official at the Department of Justice. However, on further reflection, Mr. X cannot definitively state that his then-supervisor said that that the Department of Justice official directing the merger of the cases was AG Barr. Separate from that conversation with his supervisor, Mr. X has no independent knowledge of who at the Department of Justice directed that the cases be merged.

Someone decided that it is not helpful to the Republican cause — or to Whistleblower X’s role as nascent hero of the far right — for Bill Barr to have intervened so directly in this case.

And, as noted, Republican Chairs are making sure they don’t learn anymore details about Barr’s role either.

Republicans think they’ve got a great scandal going here. But Whistleblower X’s testimony inadvertently makes the whole thing sound like a rebirth of the manufactured Eliot Spitzer scandal, only this time with the direct involvement of the Attorney General.

82 replies
  1. Upisdown says:

    The Delaware factor certainly smacks as being a political investigation intended to pull in Joe Biden. I had not considered that previously. It’s hard to imagine that a tax delinquency is deemed “high profile” just for it involving a candidate’s son who is not part of the campaign. Not unless there was book written that baselessly accuses a conspiracy of corruption between the candidate and his son.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      It’s about the guilt by association and has been the standard GOP oppo playbook since forever. The fact that they are so intertwined with Epstein, and that they continue to overwhelmingly support Defendant-1 shows that their poutrage is conditional.

      They know there will be Ds that will be only too happy to make it an issue for their own purposes. Look what happened with Al Franken’s picture, before he was senator, when he neither touched her nor (allegedly) did she object in any way at the time. Not saying it wasn’t stupid to do it or post it (it was) but I’d have to wonder whether any GOP type could sustain the same scrutiny without issues arising.

      • Rugger_9 says:

        Also note that every time Eric Swalwell is in a hearing, the GOP keeps claiming that he had an affair with a PRC spy when as has been documented repeatedly he turned her in when he found out who she was. Compare that to the one running amok at M-a-L where (according to Grisham, always worth some salt) the classified docs were out and about.

        • Spencer Dawkins says:

          I agree completely, but it is worth saying that if I still believed Swalwell had been a foreign asset until he turned his spy in, a perfectly reasonable assumption is that any foreign intelligence agency would have blown off any intelligent assets and just bought a membership to Mar-a-Lago, sat back in the dining room, and awaited results.

          “Is it even spying if someone just pulls out documents you’re not cleared to see, and starts showing them to you to impress you?” (That’s a snarky rhetorical question, of course)

  2. Desidero says:

    “Knew her to be… or believed her to be…” – pretty damning evidence Mr. X provides for an already 5-year-old claim to traipse after the son of a then former VP/likely Presidential candidate.
    Maybe the preggers girlfriend seemed slutty, so that would prolly be enough… Mr X can likely sniff out whores the way the Chitty Chitty Child Catcher could sniff out Children. A shame Bill Barr didn’t make him a Special Counsel, he had such promise.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Mr. X perceives any woman even tangentially connected to the target he became obsessed with as a whore. Prostitute? Girlfriend? Mother of his child? What’s the difference, really, to a man who seems to be possessed by an envious loathing for H. Biden. He must degrade them all.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Misogyny doesn’t quite capture this guy’s apparent rigidity, judgmentalism, sexual repression, and hatred of women. Whatever pathologies he may have, he doesn’t sound like a guy with the detachment or objectivity required to be a credible investigator. But he would probably have been a star in certain Christofascist ministries or J. Edgar Hoover’s Bureau.

  3. Konny_2022 says:

    Thank you very much, Marcy, for another careful analysis of a long transcript. Your mentioning the supplements by both Shapley and Mr. X let me read also the affidavit provided by Shapley, and I wonder if it’s common to include hypotheticals into statement like Shapley does:

    “6. If IRS-CI investigators had participated in those briefings, we would have ensured that proper investigative steps were conducted to determine the veracity of the information provided by the CHS as it would have likely been material to the ongoing criminal investigation of Hunter Biden.”

    It seems to my like another side-swipe at David Weiss.

    • Buzzkill Stickinthemud says:

      I also wonder about this statement from Whistleblower X:

      The captive case and the steps taken were significantly different than what happened with the Hunter Biden investigation, and hopefully I can show you that with my testimony here today.

      Is it normal for witnesses to assert conclusions that should be revealed through questioning? I’ve heard of “leading the witness”, but this is like “leading the questioner” (with the wimpy qualifier “hopefully”). Or maybe it’s just soundbite fodder for right wing media.

  4. BRUCE F COLE says:

    X’s testimony reads like a guy sitting next to someone at tavern who’s trying to impress the bar with his special knowledge of a salacious scandal, but doesn’t have a coherent story line in his head. As a whistleblower, I hope he’s accorded all the deference that Reality Winner or Chelsea Manning got.

    So Hunter’s mistress’ dad is a pal of Don Jr???? His lack of judgement is spectacular.

    I keep harping about how this case compares to Roger Stone’s tax settlement, sans any criminal charge whatsoever for a number and time frame x4 compared to Hunter’s. There’s even a surfeit of sex drama with Stone as well, which never gets a nod with respect to his tax cheating (as it shouldn’t).

  5. John Paul Jones says:

    Should I trust Wikipedia? It tells me that Roger Stone involved himself in the Spitzer scandal, even to the extent of describing what Spitzer was wearing. Typical salacious, meaningless detail designed to give the narrative a touch of “realism”, make it easier to believe.

    • Ravenous hoarde says:

      I know almost nothing of Spitzer.

      But I do know Stone was involved in the naked pictures of Gillum in Florida.

      I wasn’t around for the Bill Clinton sex frenzy but am sure my conservative upbringing would have given me lots of “opinions” and anger at Clinton.

      Now that it’s 2023, I’m just irritated that I have to keep reading about assholes’ sex lives because Roger Stone and the RWNJ have one playbook. And now it’s not even about the politician but his addled son! Why does any constituency care about this? Who is that constituency? I feel like everyone has agreed that if HB did crimes, he should be punished in accordance with precedence for those crimes. Now, he’s overly punished based on precedence and the Stones/Grassley reduxes will still not stop flogging that horse because they wanted MOAR.

      It almost makes me wish Biden did have a scandal worth all this gnashing that the dingbats are doing over his son’s d pics and substance abuse. We’ve seen this “scandal” before. How is it still worth redoing????

    • Rayne says:

      If you have concerns about information in a Wikipedia entry, check the sources cited in the entry.

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          IMO, it’s a strong contender for the most culturally and sociologically positive single thing that the digital revolution has given us.

        • John Paul Jones says:

          Another irony fail on my part. Mea culpa. And yes, the Wiki is a good deal better than it used to be. Still tricky with articles involving competing nationalisms, but in my own area (science fiction) I would say, improved.

        • Rayne says:

          I donate every year to Wikipedia, the Internet Archive, and Cornell’s Legal Information Institute.

          My moderation time is my donation to emptywheel because I can’t write a check that big without my spouse having a kitten. :-)

        • bird of passage says:

          …also a massive positive, the Internet Archive. (I know very little about a whole lot but this I feel confident posting. Sort of. To be clear, I wasn’t at all involved.)

      • RipNoLonger says:

        Who would I trust? A commercial news channel, a commercial encyclopedia (do they exist), a for-profit newspaper?

        I’ve been an avid user of Wikipedia since near its inception. At first it couldn’t possibly be a font of knowledge, but it kept on building.

        There were lots of errant posts and tons of nasty changes – back-and-forth. But the moderation system seems to be working quite well. The total content is now my primary search, followed by DuckDuckGo.

        Wonder how long they can stay out of nasty people’s clutches (Musk, other VC).

    • c-i-v-i-l says:

      I sometimes edit WP pages, and no, you should not trust WP. It does not aim for truthfulness, only for “reliably sourced” claims, and we (should) all know that “reliable” sources like the NYT do not always get things right, and some WP claims may not be sourced at all or may cite a source that doesn’t actually confirm the claim in the WP article. Rayne is correct that you should check the source(s).
      FWIW, WP is forthright that users should “be advised that nothing found here has necessarily been reviewed by people with the expertise required to provide you with complete, accurate, or reliable information.” There’s more info about the reliability here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliability_of_Wikipedia

        • Rayne says:

          Don’t be a dick. Wikipedia offers a good faith explanation of its limitations in that link.

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          I was just making a “joke” about a post warning us of the info on Wikipedia being suspect (which everything absolutely is anyway, to one degree or another) by posting a Wikipedia URL — to which the poster replied unironically that, indeed, I couldn’t trust the link.

          It was a perfect conversation.

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          Thanks for the tip; ok, so not a “perfect conversation” then. What passes for a snark tag in these here parts?

          [Use “/s” or “/snark” or clamp one on. /~Rayne]

        • theartistvvv says:

          Those Snark tuners are great, and the red ones and the black ones are my faves now.

      • Rayne says:

        I can’t say what bmaz’s problem is with your comment’s content (I don’t think any of us can, frankly). However “WP” is a common abbreviation for WordPress, the content management application used for this site. Please use Wikipedia and not WP to make your point clear. Thanks.

  6. oldtulsadude says:

    While I appreciate greatly the continued valuable work of disclosure of GOP corruption, the response that matters is only found at the ballot box, and secondarily via our bank accounts by canceling subscriptions and writing letters as to why we refuse to be played for fools.

  7. jdmckay8 says:

    So Hunter’s mistress’ dad is a pal of Don Jr?

    AFAIK it is not clear HB knew that.

    From the article:

    But maybe Whistleblower X’s treatment of all these women as sex workers is not an accident.

    Steve Bannon has been involved in this operation for years. I’ve heard a propagandist close to Bannon has been a source of leads for the investigation.

    What if any ties to sex work among his personal assistants was not Hunter’s doing?

    I take this at face value: maybe the Hunter prostitute stuff is at least partially dirty tricks.

    Does not take much imagination or years watching this stuff to see the immense political value of getting these stories “out there”. By the time it makes it to the dinner table of MAGA born again christian hardliners via FOX, the conversation begins something like: “Honey, did you hear today HB was flying in prostitutes from all over the country for his pleasure on crack? Sodom and Gamorra all over again. We can’t afford to have President Biden running the country like he raises kids.”

    • jdmckay8 says:

      OT: Question for mods. Last few days, the italic markup (““) is not working. Has it been disabled, or… ??? Any other tag changes? Thx

      [Moderator’s note: Use [em] emphasis tag instead of the [i] italics tag. /~Rayne]

        • Rayne says:

          I used brackets to demonstrate because left < and right > carets are privileged, won’t be commented out with quote marks. Use the left < and right > carets to bookend the em tag.

        • RipNoLonger says:

          I’m a total simpleton. Only used these computer thingees for 60 years. Where is the syntax for your site explained? I know it is WordPress and depending on your plug-ins there are various options. Could you make your specific requirements obvious – perhaps in the “Help” button at the top (I know that doesn’t exist, yet…

        • jdmckay8 says:

          Yes, but some comment add-ins for PHP sites only allow a small subset, some (at least as of +/- 5 yrs ago) use their own. But how many tags do you need for commenting? Not many.

        • Rayne says:

          There aren’t going to be many available for security reasons. It’s best to compose one’s comments on the assumption only strong, emphasis, blockquote, and a href tags are available.

        • Rayne says:

          Dude. We’ve been here in WordPress for more than a dozen years and in that time I think I’ve gotten less than a half dozen questions related to HTML5 which is the language used for this and many sites across the internet.

          IOW, you’re asking a basic HTML question. As earlofhuntingdon suggests, visiting W3C School’s lessons on HTML may be of big help. I’m not giving any more lessons on HTML here, I simply don’t have that kind of time.

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      Regarding Hunter’s judgement around Ms. Robert’s background: he hired her as PA for his work in international consulting in 2018, a year and a third before his term on the Burisma board ended. If he had known that she was the daughter of one of Don Jr’s hunting buddies, would he have thought twice about hiring her? Probably not (though he certainly should have) because she was a love interest as well. But I’ll give it to you that he probably didn’t give two shits who her parents were.

      Shades of Bill Clinton’s spectacular dearth of judgement with Monica Lewinsky, who nonetheless didn’t resort to blaming it on addictions, though. Both fuckers just couldn’t keep it in their pants.

      Here’s an NYT piece on the whole sorry saga by Katie Rogers.

  8. Upisdown says:

    A few weeks ago Lunden Roberts’ legal team was going to use Garrett Ziegler as an expert witness to show that Hunter Biden was hiding riches that could go to his daughter. Now Roberts has settled with Biden for smaller monthly payments and a few pieces of Biden’s artwork which the right claimed had no real value apart from buying favors from Joe Biden.

    I don’t know what happened at the recent deposition in Arkansas, but this out-of-the-blue settlement seems astounding to me. Conservative media was speculating that Biden would end up in jail for not being forthcoming about his finances. Instead, he not only got his support payment reduced, he was able to quietly put the entire case to bed with only a few paintings.

      • Unabogie says:

        This is just demonstrably false. And I say that as someone with years as a professional artist, which I’ve heard around these parts is dispositive and ends all discussion.

        But I will allow that art is in the eye of the beholder, and some people seem to actually like David Hockney’s scribbles, so there’s that. But these paintings are very sophisticated and anyone who takes the time to look at them can see that, which is probably why so many of his critics omit actual photos of the work.


        • RipNoLonger says:

          Geez. I hate to agree with bmaz, but they are not exactly Rembrandts. Even if they were carbon copies, they aren’t the real stuff.

          But arguing about great art is like talking to my neighbor about his purebred vs. my mutts. My mutts will live longer and healthier lives.

        • Shadowalker says:

          Who said they were Rembrandts? As far as copying goes, all artists do that. It’s part of learning. What did you think, they just spontaneously developed a style?

          Obviously Ms. Roberts felt that they were of equitable compensation to agree to a reduction in his child support obligation.

        • Unabogie says:

          There’s a reason I brought up Hockney, who makes his living off of “interpreting” other people’s works in his awful style. But in Hunter’s case, these are legitimately interesting collages. What I find striking about them is his sophisticated use of color and composition. These are good works.

        • Unabogie says:

          By the way, since we’re off on a tangent of what makes “good art,” one of the reasons I really dislike David Hockney is his erroneous claim that the old masters all used a camera obscura to create their works, as described here:


          This is a ridiculous thing to say, and he only says it because he, himself, is such a mediocre painter that he never learned these techniques that folks like Rembrandt used. As an example, pointing towards correct perspective as a sign of cheating, when painters spent years perfecting their understanding of vanishing points and directional lighting, while Hockney churns out sophomoric tripe that he sells for ungodly money. If you want to gripe about artists being paid far above what they’re worth, start there and then get back to me about Biden.

        • Strumbert Leather says:

          I see your David Hockney and I raise you Tracy Emin, cast in bronze on the doors of the National Portrait Gallery.

        • wrhack68 says:

          I feel compelled to defend Hockney here. This is a bit uncomfortable for me, since I am not especially a fan of his work. But I have no idea what you are talking about when you claim that Hockney makes his living interpreting other people’s work in his awful style. Hockney is a superb draughtsman and colorist and a deeply affecting portraitist. And his work strikes me as quintessentially his own. His works just don’t thrill me the way those of certain other artists do.

          As for your assertions about his thesis re: the camera oscura, the jury is largely out. However, one of the principle essays in the catalogue for the Vermeer exhibition that just closed in Amsterdam is that Vermeer may very well have made use of such a device. The evidence supporting this position is not definitive, but it is certainly suggestive, and it does appear to remove all doubt that some of the artists of the Dutch Golden Age took advantage of its technical capabilities. And why not? Where is it written that an artist cannot use a visual aid in composing a work?

        • Unabogie says:

          The reason I reject the camera obscura hypothesis is that I and many other artists painstaking learned how people like Vermeer accomplished their work. It’s really hard! It takes years of practice and study! And so chalking it up to a clever magic trick seems especially offensive to me.

          But as for Hockney’s own work, I saw an exhibit he did that was “interpretations” of master works. They were awful. But can you point to an example of his work that you feel best demonstrates his skill as a colorist?

        • Savage Librarian says:

          Speaking of derivative and technology generated, did you happen to see this?

          “The World’s First A.I.-Generated Statue, Cobbling Together the Styles of Five Celebrated Sculptors, Has Landed in a Swedish Museum” – Richard Whiddington May 24, 2023

          ‘The Impossible Statue’ cherry-picks the aesthetics of Michelangelo, Rodin, Käthe Kollwitz, Takamura Kotaro, and Augusta Savage.


        • Rayne says:

          Please, don’t encourage this drift off topic. Save this for a weekend or open thread. Thanks.

        • Rayne says:

          Split the baby on this topic and then get back on topic.

          Vermeer may well have used a camera obscura https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2013/11/vermeer-secret-tool-mirrors-lenses

          And then his cohorts may have attempted to duplicate the kinds of results he obtained but without the camera obscura. They produced great works, but not identical to Vermeer’s.

          Using a camera obscura back in the 17th century was no mean feat. It would require a combination of technical know-how and artistry to produce the caliber of works Vermeer produced which was relatively unmatched at the time for its clarity and precision.

          Art is subjective; just look at the opinions in bmaz’s Frontman thread. Leave it at that and get the fuck back on topic in this thread.

        • wrhack68 says:

          I saw a retrospective a few years ago in Los Angeles and had to admit I was impressed by Hockney’s technical abilities and emotional range. I would take him over, say Alex Katz, any day of the week. There were some portraits of friends and family I found quite good. Large landscapes, such as the bravura “Pearblossom Highway,” as well. I would recommend you take a look at those.

          As for the camera oscura thesis, I don’t think the use of such a device diminishes an artist in any way. The history of art (and music) involves many instances of artists making use of new discoveries and “technologies”: Alberti’s “discovery” of one-point perspective, which occurred in the context of advances in lens-making and cartography; shifts in media from fresco to egg tempera on panel to oil on linen; and so on. It’s not as if taking advantage of these developments meant that any schmuck could be a great painter. It still took the genius of Vermeer to do what he did. Ditto Rembrandt, de Hooch, et al.

        • wrhack68 says:

          (Sorry Rayne. I just saw your intervention. Not another word from me on the subject.)

        • Alzero53 says:

          Compared to George W. Bush he certainly is Rembrandt! Now that’s some crude childlike stuff.

        • Shadowalker says:

          I actually like some of his works. A favorite is the ‘Feet In Shower’ (standing perspective). Though I wouldn’t hang it on my wall. But it does make me smile, and what’s wrong with that?

      • Upisdown says:

        Ah, but Rembrandt didn’t have Fox News and the NY Post upping public exposure of his works on a daily basis. Each article and segment gives Hunter increased name recognition. There is value in that.

  9. morganism says:

    It is gonna be so ironic if the prosecution of Hunter gives the Feds the way to take all those guys guns.

    Drugs n guns, check.

    Paying prostitutes and writing it off as expenses, check.

    i seem to recall reading that the 2 largest draws for sex workers are the Super Bowl, and the RNConv…

  10. N.E. Brigand says:

    This may not be important, but the supplement from Mr. X’s lawyer (as quoted above) says that while Mr. X “recalls in his testimony that he was told (roughly five years ago) by a supervisor that it was then-Attorney General William Barr who directed that the proposed case be merged with an ongoing case in Delaware,” now he’s not sure he was actually told that Barr himself had made this decision.

    However, in the testimony quoted above, Mr. X repeatedly says his understanding is that the Department of Justice’s tax division had opened an investigation into Hunter Biden in January 2019 — which he says is two months after he had opened an investigation into Hunter Biden (thus November 2018) — and that he learned about it in March or April or May 2019 when he was told the cases would be joined.

    The House committee’s minority counsel twice asks him if he meant 2018, and he says no, it was 2019.

    So why does his supplement, dated June 19, 2023, say that he was told “roughly five years ago” that the cases would be merged? That would spring-summer 2018, which is something like six months before he says he opened his investigation in Hunter Biden’s taxes.

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      Good point.

      Incompetent counsel is a likely explanation, given the political leanings of the “witness” and the recent track record of lawyers working for conspiracy-obsessed Republicans.

      In a not entirely unrelated vein, the Committee may have immunized X against taxpayer privacy violation charges, but perjury isn’t something they could shield him from.

  11. BRUCE F COLE says:

    Good point.

    Incompetent counsel is a likely explanation, given the political leanings of the “witness” and the recent track record of lawyers working for conspiracy-obsessed Republicans.

    In a not entirely unrelated vein, the Committee may have immunized X against taxpayer privacy violation charges, but perjury isn’t something they could shield him from.

  12. soundgood2 says:

    I’m reading the whistleblower transcript and I was wondering about the laptop(s). On Exhibit 6 (the laptop timeline) at first there is a reference to 3 laptops. Later the description is 3 devices identified as a laptop a hard drive (presumably taken out of the laptop) and another hard drive which was brought to the store by Hunter after a request from the repair shop to bring in a hard drive to store the recovered data from the damaged laptop. So which is it? Were there ever 3 laptops? Or was it always the 3 devices-one laptop, 2 hard drives?

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